The pop superstar and Top 3 Idol finalist delivered a show-stopping performance of “Firework,” the third single from Perry’s third studio album, Teenage Dream. Perry co-wrote the self-empowerment anthem with Ester Dean as well as the tune’s producers Stargate and Sandy Vee.
The performance began with a clip of Marlene covering Perry’s tune as a young girl before Marlene appeared on stage. Perry then joined Marlene on stage for a flawless pairing of their impressive vocal ranges.
Watch their performance below.
The performance comes just days after Perry surprised Marlene with the invitation to sing alongside her during the finale.
After seeing a video of Marlene singing her 2010 hit, “Firework,” on the internet, Perry decided to have Marlene join her for a duet of the chart-topping hit on the final episode.
“They asked us ‘what do you want to do?’ and I was like ‘well, you know, I did see a video of Leah Marlene singing ‘Firework’ when she was like 9 years old.’ I watched that video and was like ‘how powerful would that be if we sang that together on the finale,” Perry said to Marlene as she quickly became overcome with emotion. ”Listen, I only save that song for inaugural events and Leah Marlene.”
“Yes, Please,” Marlene, who was all smiles, shouted at the time.
Watch Perry invite Marlene to join her on a live duet below.
The three-hour Season 20 finale of American Idol also featured performances from the Idol judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, as well as the Top 3 finalists Noah Thompson, HunterGirl, and Leah Marlene.
Additionally, superstars Carrie Underwood, Gabby Barrett, James Arthur, Sara Bareilles, Michael Bublé, Deana Carter, Earth, Wind & Fire, Melissa Etheridge, Flo Rida, Ben Platt, Thomas Rhett, Tai Verdes, and more also performed during the star-studded broadcast.
Several other contestants from Season 20 also returned to the Idol stage, including Mike Parker, Christian Guardino, Jay Copeland, Nicolina Bozzo, Fritz Hager, Emyrson Flora, and Lady K.
Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the American Idol finale aired live coast-to-coast on Sunday, May 22, at 8/7c on ABC. The finale also streamed live on ABC.com and the ABC app and will be available to watch via Hulu on Monday (May 23).